Responsible Travel Policies

You can learn about our guiding principles on Adventure, Environment and Community welfare on our Our Ethos page, but it is our responsible travel policies and practices that are shared amongst our staff, in-country teams and leaders to ensure we are consistently meeting our high ethical and safety standards across all of our destinations.

At The Grand Adventure Company, we believe in cruelty-free adventure and that all animals should be treated with respect and compassion. As an adventure travel tour operator, we have a responsibility to ensure our tours comply with industry best practice and do not include any unethical activities involving animals. We are also committed to raising awareness of tourism-related animal welfare issues with our customers.

We have worked closely with the World Animal Protection organisation to develop an animal welfare policy and guidance appropriate to our business activities, as well as taking the following pledges:

Protecting wild animals in tourism –  Statement of intent by The Grand Adventure Company

     

Elephant Friendly Tourism Pledge

Elephant FRiendly Tourism pledge

Grand Adventure Company – Animal Welfare Policy

 

Grand Adventure Company - Animal Welfare Policy

The primary aim of this policy is to ensure the well-being of animals encountered on our tours and to contribute towards the improvement in animal welfare across the adventure travel industry.

We also encourage you to visit the World Animal Protection website where you can access the following useful resources:
World Animal Protection – Your guide to being animal-friendly on your holiday
World Animal Protection’s Wildlife Selfie Code


The Grand Adventure Company are committed to promoting the welfare and protection of children and vulnerable adults during their participation in any of our UK or overseas adventures. This policy is designed to both protect young people, vulnerable adults and support those who look after them.

Child & Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy – The Grand Adventure Company – November 2017


As an adventure travel company, we travel off-the-beaten-track. We venture into remote areas, trek and climb wild mountains and explore unique eco-systems and environments. We acknowledge that our very presence creates an impact and can present risk to these fragile areas. Remote and wild landscapes do not always have the infrastructure, or resilience, to survive or adapt to misuse, high visitor numbers or intentional exploitation.

We believe that for every travel product a full assessment of the environmental impact of its delivery should be made and balanced against the benefit of the experience to the participants, local economy and communities it affects. This may result in working with local suppliers to improve best practice, managing access with local communities or avoiding busy seasons of travel or particular routes completely. Making decisions solely based on financial factors without accounting for environmental impacts is unsustainable and not in the interest of our company or the planet’s.

To read more about our approach to the environment please see our commitments page.


The Grand Adventure Company recognises its responsibility to promote equality and avoid discrimination in its business practices, both in the UK and overseas. This includes, but is not limited to; selections we make for the purposes of employment, the supply of services to our business and all interactions with our customers. The primary aim of this policy is to promote equality for all and avoid all forms of discrimination.

Equality Policy – The Grand Adventure Company – November 2017

Safety is our number one priority and we take our responsibility to our staff and customers seriously. Although we cannot mitigate all the hazards involved in adventure travel we can manage them in a way to make our trips as safe as possible. Click here to read more about our approach to keeping you safe on your adventure and the steps we take.

Porters and our in-country support teams are a vital part of our trekking staff. We value their role in the delivery of our adventure tours and it would be impossible to operate many of our trips without them! It is our responsibility as an adventure travel tour operator to ensure the safety and fair treatment of porters who work on our tours, as well as to use our position to champion improvements across the sector.

We believe:

● Porters and local support staff should be afforded the same treatment as our western staff.

● Ignorance of sub-standard local practices is not an excuse for an organisation to not provide protection for the welfare and rights of people working on their tours.

● It is not right to use someone’s economic situation to pressure them into extremely demanding or dangerous work.

● It is also not right to send staff into extreme environments ill-equipped, underprepared and without appropriate support.

These beliefs form the basis of our policy:

Porter Protection Policy – The Grand Adventure Company – December 2017

As part of our commitment to Porter welfare we are members and partners of the International Mountain Explorer’s Concern (IMEC) and the Kilimanjaro Porter Assistance Project. We also support and adhere to the International Porter Protection guidelines for ethical trekking.

 International Mountain Explorers ConcernKilimanjaro Porter Assistance Project

Compliances

Package Travel Regulations

By law, you have the right to expect the holiday that you booked and paid for. If the holiday doesn’t match the description, under the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992 you may have a claim against the tour operator for compensation.

The Grand Adventure Company recognises its role as a tour operator, rather than a travel agent, which means we are a principal and a package holiday organiser and we are required to comply with EU and UK regulations that are in place to protect you the consumer.

The EU Package Travel Directive was incorporated into UK law in 1992 and it defines the responsibilities of tourism operators in relation to ‘package holidays’ which they sell or promote. You can view the Package Travel Regulations here.

The Grand Adventure Company sells its holidays as packages, which means we sell a combination of at least two different components in the same holiday. This will include at least two of the following;

a) a carriage of passengers – e.g flights and transport services like minibuses, trains, trucks, 4x4s
b) accommodation – e.g hotels, lodges, tents, homestays
c) car rental
d) any other tourist service which forms a significant proportion or essential feature of the package – e.g hiking/trekking, climbing, tours.

We adhere to the requirements of those regulations including insolvency protection and company integrity through membership of the Travel Trust Association, they ensure we are fully compliant in the following ways:

  1. Travel Trust Association Code of Conduct – external verification of our business practices and integrity.
  2. Ensuring we have a valid and current Public liability combined insurance policy for tour operators.
  3. Customer funds held in an independently managed trust account until completion of your holiday
  4. Air Travel Organisers License (ATOL) for any trips we sell which include a flight in the package (provided by the Travel Trust Association).
  5. Keeping us up-to-date with regulation updates and industry best practice.

We also comply with the Regulations by:

Providing full and accurate descriptions of our package tours

Regulation 4, states that no travel organisers can supply consumers with misleading information.

Our website and trip dossiers contain day by day descriptions, information on accommodation, transport and food, pre-requisite fitness and skill requirements, inclusions and exclusions. Any other required information, such as flights and joining instructions is provided in good time ahead of your trip in our joining pack.

100% Financial Protection

Any monies paid to us, as either deposit, interim or balance payment for your holiday, are made into an independently managed customer trust account. The independent trustees ensure these funds are available to pay for your holiday arrangements and are not released until you return. In addition to this, the Travel Trust Association’s Stand Alone Safe Seat Guarantee insures these funds, up to £11,000 per passenger, in the event they are not available through mismanagement or fraud. This also protects your funds against the unlikely event of the company becoming insolvent.

Transfer of bookings

We have a flexible transfer and amendments policy, if you make a booking and pay your deposit but something comes up to prevent you travelling, such as a work or family commitment or even if you just change your mind, you can now change your tour date or destination without penalty, as long as you give us at least 90 days notice before the date of your original tour departure.

You can even transfer your deposit to another suitable person if for some reason you can no longer travel. The new trip must be within 12 months of the original booking.

Significant alterations to essential terms

While we will do our best to operate all tours as advertised, we reserve the right to change and correct errors in any of the facilities, services, prices or itineraries described on the website or any of the travel documentation at any time before or after your booking is confirmed. Most changes are minor. Occasionally, we have to make a significant change. If a significant change has to be made, we will inform you as soon as reasonably possible, if there is time before departure.

When a significant change occurs, you will have the choice of either:
(a) accepting the change (including any changes to tour costs to be met by the client); or
(b) transferring to a similar tour or date with no transfer fees payable, subject to availability; or
(c) cancelling your tour, in which case you shall receive a full refund of all monies paid.

Withdrawal by consumer and cancellation by organiser

Our booking conditions outline a clear cancellation policy, detailing notice required to avoid penalty and minimum notice we will give in the event of cancelling a tour and your rights to compensation.

Due diligence

We take all reasonable steps to exercise due diligence in ensuring the safety and quality of your holiday. We monitor travel updates, new legislation and receive regular updates from our staff and partners on the ground in destinations we operate.If there are any significant changes in the build-up to your holiday you will be informed of these in good time.

We have a robust sign off process before a tour travels and comprehensive operating procedures to ensure all your tour runs smoothly.

As a tour operator, we are responsible for any services provided by our sub-contractors

Any subcontractor or third party we use to supply services as part of our tours e.g. accommodation, transport providers or local guides have gone through our robust selection and sign off process. This ensures their business practices conform to local laws, as well as our high safety and ethical standards.

As we take on overall responsibility for these services, it means if there is a breach of contract or a service not provided to the expected standard you can take up a complaint directly with us as a UK tour operator, rather than having to pursue a local company.

Are any tours or activities on this website not covered by these regulations?

All of our overseas holidays constitute ‘Package Holidays’ and are covered by these regulations. Some of our UK adventures that only provide one service e.g. a guided walk booked without accommodation are not ‘packages’ so not covered by these regulations.

However, although not a legal requirement, we still offer the same 100% financial protection to all bookings, including UK adventure activities.

Where can I find more information on my Consumer Rights?

This Which? Consumer Rights: Package Travel Regulations article gives a good overview of your rights when booking a holiday covered by the Package Travel Regulations

If a consumer believes he has a claim against the tour operator for breach of contract he may wish to contact his local Citizens Advice Bureau. Staff at the Bureau are trained to deal with all types of consumer problems and will be able to offer free advice on how to proceed.